INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
First Renewal Term
Subsequent Renewal Term
The Trade Marks Act, 2015 (Act No. 8 of 2015), passed on June 12, 2015, and entered into force on June 25, 2020 - is the primary law governing the mechanism of trademark registration and protection in Trinidad and Tobago.
The right of priority is an applicant’s right under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property to benefit from an earlier filing date, if the application in Trinidad and Tobago, is filed within six (06) months from the date of the first filing of the application in another Paris Convention country.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the exclusive rights to a trademark are granted only by registration, as it is a ‘first-to-file’ jurisdiction.
Trademark applications are filed with the Intellectual Property Office of Trinidad and Tobago (IPO).
Trinidad and Tobago follows the 11th edition of Nice Classification.
It is not necessary for a trademark to be in use prior to the filing of the trademark application for it to get registered.
In Trinidad and Tobago, third party opposition actions may be filed against a trademark application within a period of three (03) months following its publication.
Once registered, trademarks in Trinidad and Tobago have a validity of ten (10) years from the date of application, which can be further renewed indefinitely for successive periods of ten (10) years each.
Trademark renewal may be requested as early as six (06) months before the expiration date.
There is a grace period of six (06) months after the expiration date with a further extension accompanied by a late fee.
As stated before, it is not necessary for a trademark to be in use to register. However, once registered it must be used within five (05) years after registration, otherwise it will become vulnerable to cancellation actions for the lack of use.
Trinidad & Tobago is a signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
A patent can be registered in Trinidad & Tobago pursuant to the Patents Act (Act 21 of 1996) (Cap. 82:76) (as amended) and the Patents Rules, which provide for the registration of the local patent applications.
It usually takes about two (02) to three (03) years for the Intellectual Property Office in the Registrar General’s Department in the Ministry of Legal Affairs to process an application for registration. Once the registration is complete, the Intellectual Property Office issues a registration certificate to the applicant.
A second form of protection for inventions is the patent for a ‘utility certificate.’
The types of patent applications that can be filed include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
In Trinidad and Tobago, an invention that satisfies the conditions of originality, novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability, subjects to patentability. Process patent and product patent are the two types of patents that can be protected.
There is no provision for pre-grant opposition Trinidad & Tobago.
A patent registration is valid for twenty (20) years. Once the registration term has expired, it cannot be further renewed.
Once a patent has been registered in Trinidad & Tobago, there is an annual fee payable to the Trinidadian Government every year. The fee is due on the anniversary of the application date. Annual fees for a PCT issued patent are due on the same date. When the annual fee has been paid, the Intellectual Property Office will issue an official receipt. Failure to pay an annual fee will result in the rights protected by the registration being placed in abeyance. The same will effectively prevent any enforcement action from being taken.
A grace period of six (06) months is allowed for the late payment of an annual fee upon payment of a late fee. After this period expires, the patent application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn or the patent will lapse.
The Industrial Designs Act, 1996 (No. 18 of 1996) - governs and deals with the mechanism of registration of industrial designs in Trinidad and Tobago.
An application for the registration of an industrial design needs to be filed with the Controller and should contain a request, drawings, photographs or other adequate graphic representations of the article embodying the industrial design, and an indication of the kind of product for which the industrial design is to be used.
Utility model protection isn't provided under industrial design protection in the nation.
The types of industrial design applications that can be filed in Trinidad and Tobago include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
The registration of an industrial design lasts for a period of five (05) years from the filing date of the application for registration.
The registration may be renewed for two (02) further consecutive periods of five (05) years each through the payment of the prescribed fee.
A grace period of six (06) months is allowed for the late renewal of a registered industrial design upon payment of the prescribed surcharge.
Copyright protection in Trinidad and Tobago is offered through international Agreements and the Copyright Act Chapter 82:80 Act No. 8 of 1997, as amended by Act No. 18 of 2000 and Act No. 5 of 2008.
Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
In Tobago and Trinidad, copyright comes into existence as soon as the work is created. No formality is required to be done for obtaining copyright protection.
Copyright and moral rights of the author are protected during the life of the author and for fifty (50) years after his death.
In the case of the work of applied art, copyright and moral rights are protected for twenty-five (25) years from the making of the work.
Moral rights of the author are protected during the life of the author and for fifty (50) years after his death.